You probably already know it, but growing up today is mentally and emotionally challenging. There is not enough money or food bribery in the world to encourage me to go and relive my middle school days. One of the worst parts is what media has done for the body image of young women. I thought that the poorly constructed health indicator of BMI determined my attractiveness and some of my worth; little Kristin thought by age 20 she would be tall and model lean like the images on TV. I don’t think a day has gone by in my life since then that I haven’t thought about my body in some regard, but luckily, I no longer view it as a negative, and I did that by changing my goals: healthy, NOT society's pretty. For me, strong is pretty. I want strong skin, strong bones, and even stronger muscles; I strive to be resilient.
I decided I could achieve this resiliency by trying something I never thought I could excel at: running. I am the dinosaur from Meet the Robinsons, except for me it goes: “I have a big chest and little legs, and I just don’t think this body can move along. God help meee??” One day, I started jogging and from there worked my way up to being able to run a mile without falling over. As a child my parents lovingly left my brother and I outside all day to play (bless you if you’re reading this mom and dad), but there are great differences in running a mile and terrorizing your fellow neighborhood children with whatever object you can throw, or jumping up and down in leaf piles until you cannot breathe. I ran my first 5K my junior year of high school, and I realized that May day that I am capable of that which I once deemed impossible.
Fast forward to college and last semester I turned into a slug after a series of difficult life circumstances and needed to change back into a happy caterpillar. I decided to train for a 10K, and that was one of the best decisions of my life. I started training in October for a race that occurred in January. With the help of a few running buddies (thanks guys for running in circles with me in McComas), I felt ready to take on the trail; while I was ready for the run, I failed to read the race map well. I had unknowingly signed up for a mountain race. I mean, I had run some trails before, never up mountains though. I ran anyways and felt like a complete badass by the end of it. I placed about 220th of 250 some runners, but I never stopped running. This success led me to select my next challenge: a half marathon.
I know my limits, and that is key for overall health. This is why my largest running goal is a half marathon, not a full marathon. My foot is tendinitis prone and my hips are easily angered, every time it pops, someone in the room cringes for me. But I am a Hokie, and Hokies are strong and determined. Therefore, I want to face once of my largest personal goals while I am at a place that helps me develop into even more of who I want to be every semester. As I write this article, I whipped out my credit card and signed up online for this race. (In case you’re interested: http://hokiehalf.com) that will take me around my beautiful campus. I started my 16 week training program last week, and I am determined to stick to it. I do not care how fast I run those 13.1 miles, but I will finish that race running. Life provides the opportunity to improve and achieve goals every day, and some of those goals can actually be met by putting on your shoes and running away. If you’ll excuse me, it’s a 5 mile day… challenge accepted.